Archive for the ‘Standard of Review’ Category

In ERISA Cases, The Standard Of Review Really Does Matter

Litigation pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) is rather unique.  Unlike most cases, ERISA disputes are based on a limited scope of permissible evidence.  The range of that scope is ultimately dependent on which standard of review is employed by the courts.  Typically, when the standard of review is abuse of discretion, […]

Daily Journal Article – In ERISA Cases, The Standard of Review Really Does Matter

The Daily Journal recently published an article authored by M. Scott Koller entitled, “In ERISA Cases, The Standard of Review Really Does Matter.” Originally Published by The Daily Journal on December 2, 2010.

Under ERISA , Procedural Deficiencies Not Considered When the Standard of Review is De Novo

Litigation pursuant to the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) is rather unique.  Unlike most cases, ERISA disputes are based on a limited scope of permissible evidence.  The range of that scope is ultimately dependent on which standard of review is employed by the courts.  Typically, when the standard of review is abuse of discretion, […]

ERISA Claimant Retains Burden of Proof For Establishing Disability Under a De Novo Standard of Review

The question of who has the burden of proof can often decide the outcome of litigation.  Given its importance, it is common to see litigants attempt to shift that burden to the opposing side in order to secure a tactical advantage.  Recently, in Muniz v. Amec Construction Management Inc., __ F.3d __, 2010 WL 4227877 (Decided […]

Denial of Class Certification in Annuity Case Overruled Under a De Novo Standard of Review

Last week, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals reversed a District Court decision denying class certification in Yokoyama v. Midland National Life Insurance Company, __ F.3d __, 2009 WL 2634770 (9th Cir. August 28, 2009). Yokoyama concerns a class action involving the sale of annuities to senior citizens where the Ninth Circuit addressed, for the […]

No Special Treatment For “Top Hat” ERISA Plans In The Ninth Circuit

In Sznewajs v. U.S. Bancorp Amended and Restated Supplemental Benefits Plan, ___ F.3d ___, 2009 WL 2004452 (9th Cir. July 13, 2009), the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals addressed, for the first time, whether the standard of review analysis for “top hat” ERISA plans is the same as for other ERISA plans. Franciene Sznewajs, the […]

No Abuse of Discretion Where Insurer Requires Objective Evidence

Salomaa v. Honda Long Term Disability Plan, 542 F. Supp. 2d 1068 (C.D. Cal. 2008). An insurer denied the ERISA plan participant’s disability claim, in part, because he failed to support his claimed disability from CFS with “objective test results.”  During the participant’s initial appeal of his LTD benefits, his attorney asked the insurer if […]

The End of Discretionary Authority in Montana?

Standard Ins. Co. v. Morrison, 537 F. Supp. 2d 1142 (D. Mont. 2008). A ruling by District Court Judge Donald Molloy may signal the end of discretionary authority for ERISA plans in Montana.  Standard Insurance Company brought suit against John Morrison, the Insurance Commissioner for the State of Montana.  Morrison had implemented a state-wide policy […]

Claim Remanded To Claims Administrator Initially Terminated Before Providing Participant With Requested Plan Documents

Hoskins v. Metropolitan Life Ins. Co., 551 F. Supp. 2d 942 (D. Ariz. 2008) An employee submitted a claim for benefits through his employer’s ERISA governed disability plan. After approving the payment of both short-term and long-term disability benefits, MetLife requested that the participant apply for Social Security benefits. Through her attorney, the participant requested […]

Exhaustion Of Administrative Remedies Not Required When Claimant Reasonably Relied On Administrator’s Statement That He Was Not Required To Exhaust His Remedies Before Filing A Lawsuit

Keller v. Albertsons, Inc. Employees’ Disability Benefits Plan, 589 F. Supp. 2d 1205 (C.D. Cal. 2008) Initially approving plaintiff’s claim for LTD benefits under the “own occupation” definition of disability, after two years, plaintiff’s claim was reviewed under the “any occupation” standard, and his claim for benefits was terminated. In a letter sent to the […]

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